New life is about to be triggered at a downtown intersection that once boasted a vibrant nightlife, but has remained a shuttered ghost town over the last several years.
New life is about to be injected into a downtown Windsor intersection that once boasted a vibrant nightlife but has remained a bit of an urban dead zone over the last several years.
The former City Beer Market and adjoining Chatham Street Grill buildings in the 100 block of Chatham Street West have been purchased by a partnership involving Mid South Land Development Corp. and owners of Cypher Systems Group.
The same group bought the former Fish Market and Loop building earlier this year for $1.6 million and it has been in the midst of extensive renovations.
“We believe the timing is right,” said Stephen Savage, co-owner of Cypher Systems. “You have the Windsor symphony downtown, the university and college growing downtown. There is a revitalization in the area and we’d love to be part of that.
“And this city is in our blood. We are local guys who are enthusiastic about bringing these buildings back to their former glory.”
Windsor Family Credit Union had assumed ownership of both structures during the last few years after previous owners defaulted on the mortgages. The selling price on the deal, which closed Thursday, was withheld at the request of the credit union.
We are doing this as a service to the city, for ourselves and the community
The Beer Market, which has 21 apartments on the upper floors, closed in 2013, while Chatham Street Grill, which has five loft-style apartments upstairs, shut down in 2009.
While the residential units have remained in use — currently at about 75 per cent occupancy — the ground-floor commercial space has remained shuttered, leaving the corner of Pelissier and Chatham eerily quiet in recent years.
The group says that will soon change.
Combined with their overhaul of the Fish Market building, it expects all three buildings will be in strong demand either as office, commercial or restaurant space.
“There are good opportunities in all those areas,” Savage said.
Mid South Land Developments under Dino Maggio and his son Anthony has a history locally of converting old buildings into viable commercial ventures, including the former Teutonia Club, plus several buildings in the Walker Industrial Park and Olde Walkerville.
The group adamantly ruled out bars as possible tenants. Maggio said downtown has “more than enough of those.”
“Our plan (for the two buildings) is basically the same thing we are already doing across the street,” he said. “Give them a complete facelift, redo the interior, renovate and clean them up.
“There are no set goals exactly who will occupy the buildings, but we are confident (they will be filled) or else we would not be doing this. We are doing this as a service to the city, for ourselves and the community.”
Cleanup of the former Fish Market began a couple of months ago and is about three-quarters complete. Prospective tenants could begin touring the building in July, Maggio said.
Renovation work on the Beer Market and Chatham Street Grill buildings starts on Monday and should take about 60 days to complete before tenants can start to take a look, he said.